Map Library & Data Warehouse


Mapping & GIS Quiz



Base Camp


The History of Map Making

It is usually called cartography.
An art form, like painting and sculpture, the creation of maps has often been hand drawn with beautiful illustrations.

Today, with GIS, maps have become tools for visualizing information.

Here is a basic definition of mapmaking to get us started. Everyone in class will want to draw their own map and send in the drawings for our map library after study of this history unit.

One of the first things we learn is that people are often mapping areas / things they have never seen. How is that done? Can you draw a fantasy map that has information connected to locations?

Mapmaking, (cartography). is the art and science of graphically representing a geographical area, usually on a flat surface such as a map or chart; it may involve the superimposition of political, cultural, or other nongeographical divisions onto the representation of a geographical area.

Cartography is an ancient discipline that dates from the prehistoric depiction of hunting and fishing territories.

The Babylonians mapped the world in a flattened, disk-shaped form, but Ptolemy established the basis for subsequent efforts in the 2nd century AD with an eight-volume work on geography that showed a spherical Earth.

Maps produced during the Middle Ages followed Ptolemy's guide, but they used Jerusalem as the central feature and placed East at the top.

These representations are often called T-maps because they show only three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa), separated by the T formed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile River.

More accurate geographical representation began in the 14th century when portolan (seamen's) charts were compiled for navigation.

The discovery of the New World led to the need for new techniques in cartography, particularly for the systematic representation on a flat surface of the features of a curved surface (see projection; Mercator projection).

The 17th and 18th centuries saw a vast outpouring of printed maps of ever-increasing accuracy and sophistication. Noteworthy among the scientific methods introduced later was the use of the telescope for determining the length of a degree of longitude.

Modern cartography largely involves the use of aerial photographs as a base for any desired map or chart; the procedures for translating photographic data into maps are governed by the principles of photogrammetry (q.v.) and yield a degree of accuracy previously unattainable.

Satellite photography has made possible the mapping of features of the Moon and of several planets and their satellites.

Modern GIS maps and new earth maps based on satallite photography provide a new way to express the beauty of the earth through mapping.

Camp Internet students and teachers create GIS maps each year. School Gardens, Community Resources, neighborhood creks and streams and a new Oak Tree mapping project are just part of how mapping becomes a part of our daily learning.

Maps have always been essential. Maps provide a way to attach "ideas" or "special information" (like city names) to physical locations on a drawn map.

Sometimes the accuracy of the map physically is not as important as the information the map conveys, like a map of a fairy land in a novel.